Silence on Egypt's Christian Slaughter

Why the lack of worldwide Christian solidarity only encourages more brutality.

Christians throughout the Middle East are being persecuted by increasingly intolerant Muslim majorities, while Muslims in “Christian” Europe and North America have been empowered to demand ever more privileges.

The New American reported on March 28, 2011 that

Muslim Protesters, some of them women clad in black burqas, marched in London last week to demand Sharia law for the United Kingdom...The protesters carried signs with disturbing anti-American and anti-European messages. “Islam the solution for mankind,” one said, while another proclaimed that “Democracy will bring oppression.” Another called the United States, Britain, and France a “Trinity of evil,” while a fourth warned that “Sharia will dominate the world.”

Neither Western powers nor the Vatican have taken any actions to redress the dangerous situation faced by their Middle Eastern co-religionists. One cannot name a single Western “Christian” leader that has threatened the Muslim leader of Egypt with any form of retaliation, including the imposition of restrictions on Muslims living in Europe and America. In fact, President Obama invoked moral equivalency between the government-approved Egyptian Muslim killers and the Christian victims when he stated on October 10, 2011, “Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.”

The absence of vociferous Western intervention on behalf of the persecuted Christians in Egypt, for example, has led to the brazen behavior of the Egyptian military regime, which resulted in the murder of 35 Christian demonstrators and the injuring of over 300 on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

The Coptic church of Egypt lambasted the nation’s military authorities on Monday, October 10, 2011, for having allowed repeated attacks on Christians with impunity, when most of the Christians were simply trying to stage a peaceful protest over the attack on their church. The spiritual leader of the Coptic Christian minority, Pope Shenouda III, who presided over funerals for some of the murder victims, declared three days of mourning, praying and fasting beginning on Tuesday. The preceding Sunday's sectarian violence in Egypt was the worst since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.

Gruesome pictures that showed members of the Egyptian army and policemen in vehicles firing at the peaceful Christian demonstrators with live ammunition, attests to the intentional brutality of the regime.  These attacks served to appease the Islamist masses by allowing the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt to become the scapegoats for their rage.

Ihab Aziz, a Coptic-American activist, described the Sunday events that preceded the massacre saying, “The procession started at the Christian populated district of Shubra and went to Maspero, in front of the TV building, on the river Nile. On their way some Muslims fired live ammunition over their heads to terrorize them and some bricks were hurled at them. By the time they arrived to Maspero there were nearly 150,000 protesters. The army and police were waiting about 200 meters away from the Maspero TV building and they started firing at us. Two army armored vehicles came at great speed and drove into the crowds, going backwards and forwards, mowing people under their wheels.” Aziz said that he saw at least 20 dead Copts around him.

Aziz added, "The most horrible scene was when one of the vehicles ran over the head of a Copt, causing his brain to explode and blood was all over the place.”  He concluded by saying that “We got a clear message today that we are not first class citizens."

Michael Munier, head of El Hayat (Life) Party, said that what happened to the Copts today was a massacre. He questioned why it was that the authorities killed the Copts who were protesting peacefully for their rights, while the Salafists, who blocked the trains in Qena for 10 days protesting against a Copt being nominated for governor of  the city, were not harmed or threatened in any way.

Interviewed by the Voice of Russia on June 29, 2011, Waukee Yakub, a human rights activist in Egypt, described the situation between Coptic Christians and Muslims thusly: “After the revolution of January 25th Salafis came to power. And the only side with which they conflict a lot with is the Coptic Orthodox Christians. They know we are peaceful people and we don’t hurt anyone and they started attacking churches, stop attacking even other Muslim people – the Sufi Muslims that they don’t like. What’s happening now is that it seems like the Military Council that rules the country right now is totally involved with them and constantly agrees with them. We have videos and lots of pictures that prove that they do nothing when it comes to attacks on Christians.”

As a result of the increased persecution of Christians since the overthrow of President Mubarak, Christians have been fleeing Egypt.  The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations (EUHRO) published a report on this emigration and notes that nearly 100,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011. The report, which was sent to the Egyptian cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), warned that this emigration has been prompted by the escalating intimidation and attacks on Christians by Islamists.

EUHRO director Naguib Gabriell said that "Copts are not emigrating abroad voluntarily, they are coerced into that by threats and intimidation by hard line Salafists, and the lack of protection they are getting from the Egyptian regime."

The lack of worldwide Christian solidarity has encouraged Muslim attacks on Christians, including apostate Muslims. While Western Christians make “politically correct”  gestures, always afraid to offend Muslims, the Salafists march along cleansing the Middle East of Christians, hoping to achieve with the Christians what they succeeded in doing with the Jews in the Middle East, who eventually fled to Israel.

There are measures both the European and North American governments can take. Egypt, for example, depends on U.S. military and economic aid. This must be leveraged on behalf of the Coptic-Christians in Egypt. The same is true in Iraq, where the U.S. sacrificed thousands of lives and untold billions in taxpayer dollars to prop up the Shiite-led regime of Nouri al-Maliki.

Muslim Salafists are contemptuous of the West’s inaction, which they perceive as weakness.  The Salafists are thereby encouraged to believe that Islam is triumphant and that God or Allah is on their side.  Only a strong Western reaction will convince them otherwise.